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[CDT-L] Update: Flight of the Spirit Eagle

Sad news from the hikers, I'm afraid............

Greetings from the Spirit Eagle rock climbing and winter mountaineering
disaster expedition:

We're in Salmon, ID at the Salmon Valley Baptist Church ---- for an
indefinite stay.  We were inching along the Divide yesterday (due to Jim's
tendonitits) climbing steeply over yet another snow-choked 9000+' pass, when
Ginny decided to pull part of the mountain down on herself. The mountain (or
at least the part involved in the rock slide) crushed and broke one of her
fingers.  After some inadequate first aid by Jim, we did a 7 mile walk off
the Divide to a campground where we were picked up by Trail Angels Mike &
Michelle Palmer, who took us 100 miles to the hospital in Hamilton MT.
Ginny's hand was stitched (12 stiches) while Mike and Michelle waited for us
- then they brought us 75 miles back to Salmon where Mike is the pastor of
the Salmon Valley Baptist Church. They're allowing us to stay here for a
couple of days - and Jim will do what he can to help with the church
construction effort that they have in process right now (along with 60 other
volunteers).  The scariest part was walking down the trail, not knowing what
to expect when we reached the bottom - would we find help, would we have to
walk another 10 miles to the nearest community, would it take 4 or 5 hitches
to get to the nearest hospital?  It is hard for most of us to understand -
those of us who live with 100 doctors in 10 miles, to know what it is like
to live where the nearest  urgent medical care is 100 or more miles away.
Anyhow, there we were, totally in the dark as to what would happen when we
reached the trailhead, and here appeared a red pickup with smiling faces
asking "You look like you need help."  They gave us more than we asked -
some people really do "walk the walk."  It was 1:00 in the morning by the
time we got back to Salmon - and construction begins at 7:00.

As to the rest of the week -
The Bitterroots are incredibly beautiful.  We were going slowly due to Jim's
ankle, anticipating lean times when our 7 day food supply reached its 9th or
10th day.  One blessing - we can stock up on the Oreos.  One lake had so
many fish jumping after mosquitos we felt that if we put out our pot, two or
three would jump right in.  Didn't think of it until after we'd finished our

Don't know what comes next.  It is a LONG drive back to where we left the
trail (150 or more miles) - so we may look for an alternate route back up to
the Divide (not back to the snowy pass that was nearly our downfall). First
we have to have a doctor agree that the finger is doing well - or at least
getting better.

Walk softly,
Jim & Ginny
Spirit Eagle 99

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